22 December 2019 | Christchurch, New Zealand
16 December 2019 | Christchurch, Canterbury, NZ
28 November 2019 | Christchurch, SI, New Zealand
19 November 2019 | Picton, Marlborough, NZ
04 November 2019 | Collingwood, Tasman, South Island, NZ
04 November 2019 | Collingwood, Tasman, South Island, NZ
29 October 2019 | Nelson, South Island, NZ
22 October 2019 | Christchurch, Te Waka o Māui, New Zealand
15 October 2019 | Scarborough, Queensland
05 October 2019 | Scarborough marina, near Brisbane, Australia
16 August 2019 | Southport Spit, Gold Coast, Australia
06 August 2019 | South Stradbroke Island, Gold Coast, Queensland
15 July 2019 | Boatworks, Coomera River, Gold Coast
25 May 2019 | Biggera Waters, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
12 April 2019 | Coomera River, Gold Coast, Australia
02 April 2019 | Southport, The Gold Coast, Australia
16 March 2019 | Southport, Gold Coast, Australia
09 March 2019 | Currigee, South Stradbroke Island, Gold Coast
21 February 2019 | Santa Barbara, Coomera River, Gold Coast, Australia
04 February 2019 | The Broadwater, Gold Coast, Australia
The waiting game - two days to Spain
23 July 2012 | Porto Conti, Sardinia
Windy; mistral offshore
Pic above shows Saraoni gamely tacking through the Bonifacio Strait between Sardinia and Corsica against a moderate westerly wind. Photo thanks to Nicolette on SY Katanne.
Anchored in the safe, but large bay of Porto Conti on the west coast of Sardinia, waiting for suitable conditions to sail to Minorca in the Spanish Balearic islands. There was no swell and it was easy to get ashore and go for a bike ride, as well as complete a steep climb through forest to a weather station high above the bay. This station had views up the coast and of the roaring seas breaking on the shore. Glad we were safely anchored in the bay.
We have had a mistral - the second since in Sardinian waters - affecting this part of the Med., although it has been flat in the bay with grey skies and a little drizzle.
We have now spent over two weeks in Sardinia and have slowly made our way around the top of the huge island and through the Bonifacio Strait between Sardinia and Corsica to Capo Testa, a reasonably sheltered bay behind a rocky promontory. We sailed across to Bonifacio in Corsica for the day - a magnificent natural harbour naturally cut into the chalk cliffs, with a mediaeval old town perched high on the cliff top. With an internet work schedule to keep we could only sail up the French coast and then anchor in a deserted bay for a few hours, surrounded by clear water and rocky mountains and then we sailed back to Italy.
Our time here has been quite relaxing and the cruising in both Sardinia and Corsica worth more time because of the number of good anchorages, but we now have to move on to Spain - our last Mediterranean country.
We will be leaving the boat on the Spanish mainland for a month while we fly to South Africa on safari and then the boat has to be readied for its Atlantic crossing.
Big rocks, Big boats, Big heat - Sardinia
12 July 2012 | Golfo di Arzachena, Sardinia, Italia
Hot, windy from the west
Pic shows the remarkably bold and bald Isola di Tavolara off the East coast of Sardinia.
We are currently anchored in a lovely gulf in the Straits of Bonifacio at the Northern end of Sardinia near the archipelago of the Maddalenas. Corsica is a few miles to the North of us. A mistral is developing in the Golfe de Lyons which will affect us over the weekend, but we may sail up to Porto Vecchio in Corsica if we get a chance.
We have now been in Sardinia for a week. We had a long trip over from Ponza island nearer the Italian mainland. The winds promised on the forecast never materialised, so we motored the entire 170 nautical miles. Don't ask what this cost in diesel. The trip was uneventful and a little monotonous, but comfortable, and we did make a lot of water with all the power available.
Sardinia is certainly different from anywhere else in the Med so far - geologically anyway. It's more like the Queensland coast - very pretty with scrubby hills, mountains in the background and granite boulders everywhere. Nice beaches, although everywhere in Italy is crowded now with the summer holidaymakers - not so like Australia's coast!
We spent some time anchored off the city of Olbia and then pottered up the North East coast past the Costa Smeralda - fabled land of the rich and famous. There were certainly plenty of huge boats - mostly gin palaces - around. We will do a big cycle ride tomorrow, then hopefully visit France for "le weekend".
Along Italy's volcanic arc
03 July 2012 | Ventotene, Pontine islands, Italy
Photo shows the crater rim of Vulcano island in the Aeolian islands.
We are presently anchored just in the lee of the harbour wall at Ventotene island in the Pontines. We crawled here at about 3 knots for 6 hours with wind and swell on the nose all the way from Ischia. The Pontines are our stepping stone to Northern Sardinia, where we are headed next.
From Milazzo to here we have followed the arc of volcanos from Mount Etna on Sicily through the Aeolian islands of Vulcano, Lipari, Salina, Panarea and Stromboli to Naples, with its explosion craters and Mount Vesuvius.
The Aeolian islands were a surprising highlight of our time in the Med. We have visited many volcanos over the years and have often been anchored in a dormant or extinct one, but at Vulcano it was the first time that we had anchored right next to a real live smoking version, with the sulphurous smell of mud baths and fumaroles.
A short steep walk brought us up to the crater rim, with its fantastic view in all directions out to sea and of course into the crater. Good winds prompted us to sail first to Panarea then make an overnight passage to Cape Palinuro on the Italian mainland. This took us past close to Stromboli, which belched fire and brimstone from time to time as we passed in the dead of night.
Cape Palinuro was an attractive stop inside the port, but we anchored. There were steep cliffs and grottos nearby. We motorsailed up into the Gulf of Salerno at Agropoli - with its mediaeval old town - and tied up for the night on the town wall at no cost. From there we had along day across the gulf, past the Amalfi coast, Capri and into the Bay of Naples, where we anchored for a few days in Porto Miseno - one of the better anchorages we've had so far in Italy.
Our last days have taken us to the island of Procida and Ischia and out to the Pontines. The Lamma forecast indicated that the wind would be on the nose, so we just bashed into it rather than waiting a day. We hope to make the passage to the North East coast of Sardinia in 2 days time - a 150nm trip.
Under Etna's smouldering gaze
20 June 2012 | Milazzo, Sicily
We are now anchored just off the main promenade of the town of Milazzo on the North coast of Sicily after a tough but successful passage through the narrow Messina Straits that still physically separate Italy's largest island from the mainland.
We had a good passage down the rest of Italy's "foot", although too much diesel was burned in the process and it was hard to get a really good night's sleep in the exposed anchorages we had. We timed our last 60 mile trip to coincide with the rapid tides that swirl through the strait but somehow came unstuck with a surprisingly strong northerly wind, which blew, perhaps predictably, right on the nose.
Luckily we managed to find an anchorage tucked behind a sand spit and stayed there the rest of the afternoon, accompanied by two other yachts and we were able to get ashore and explore the nearby village.
Having made the transit with the tide and a little less wind yesterday we now have both Mount Etna poking through the summer haze not so far away - all 3,300 meters of it, still with a little winter snow left on one side and smoking - as well as a bevy of volcanic islands a few miles away to the north east. These are the Aeolian islands of Vulcano, Lipari, Stromboli and their less wll known neighbours.
Tomorrow we will catch a few buses and see what we can of this part of Sicily and get close to Etna and then take off for Vulcano.
As Sardinia seems to have Italy's best natural anchorages we will probably make this our next goal - possibly first hopping up Italy's west coast. The weather on this side of the country is supposed to be very calm in the summer. We do not want wind on the nose of course but some favourable winds would be useful to spare our wallet and our old engine.
Two Italian ports
15 June 2012
Alison; Hot and clear
After leaving Otranto we just went twenty miles down to Santa Maria Di Leuca with the vague intention of anchoring and then setting off before dawn. On arrival it is possible to anchor out but it was not much good for us as we would have been rolling from gunwale to gunwale all night long. One French catamaran happily sat in the swell, but we went into the marina, the most modern we have seen yet with wide pontoons. You still have to med moor despite the huge vacant areas and the ormeggiatorri , by the end of the day, had two yachts squeezing us like a sardine sandwich.
We somehow managed to depart early without too much noise or fuss ( unusual for us) The small community seemed rather devoid of useful services and there was rather a lot of concrete on the esplanade for the local tourists and some paying beaches.
Buon Giorno, Italia!
15 June 2012 | Crotone, Calabria, Italy
Geoff; Hot with mild northerlies
Pic shows friendly common dolphin pod met with across the Gulf of Taranto
Now anchored just outside of the old port at Crotone on the toe of Italy in the Calabria region. Quite a lot has passed under Saraoni's keel since the last entry at Corfu. We had an easy run up to the last Greek island of Othoni - perhaps one of the nicest of the 31 islands we have visited in that country. A lovely, shallow anchorage under the green hills and not a tourist in sight. The next day we motored the 45 odd miles to Otranto in Italy - the only wind was a flutter as we approached the mainland.
Otranto was a great anchorage as the port was protected from all winds except North East. We were expecting a few days of southerlies so the port was just right. Otranto had the old fort and mediaeval "old town" but it was crowded out by local tourists and the beaches full of young people.
Italy seems to be affluent and westernised compared to Greece - lots of people doing what they would do anywhere in the western world. We made an interesting trip inland to the city of Lecce by train and wandered around the old town there and, more importantly, got our Italian modem and sim card sorted out properly.
Next was a run down the heel of Italy to Santa Maria di Luca, starting in sea fog - the only time that has happened in our 25 years on the sea!
Santa Maria was a quiet little spot and we had to tie up in the marina as it was uncomfortably swelly outside.
The next day we took off across the Italian "instep" - the Gulf of Taranto - with good beam winds forecast. Ten miles out into the gulf we came across a French boat that had just dismasted, so we hung around coordinating rescue procedures with the emergency station in Italy. It was quite bouncy and it was impossible for us to do anything to help directly, but eventually a navy boat turned up, so we sailed off with good winds. The wind petered out twenty miles from the other side of the gulf and we had to motor into Crotone for the last few hours.
We are now only a day or so away from the Messina Straits and Sicily with Northerly winds forecast for the next few days so should have good conditions until we reach the Sicilian coast.